American Idol – Confessions of a Middle Aged Reality TV King

Those of you who know me know that I’m a reality TV crazy. Shows spanning the spectrum from Wild Boyz, The Ultimate Fighter, Streetball, Beauty and the Geek, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Surreal Life to that dang American Idol. And though these may seem like an eclectic collection of randomness, I’m, oddly enough, like an old man set in his ways with his favorite underwear brand… Highly particular.

Don’t get me wrong… new reality shows are given a chance, but if it doesn’t catch my fancy within the first few minutes, Old Man Withers comes out and demands that I shut that garbage off and finish my homework.

Some shows are lucky enough to collect my Nielsen ratings for more than one episode. Heck, I often go a whole season with a show before snapping out of my trance to realize how much time I’ve been wasting on such nonsense.

For those auspicious few though… (Oooh you lucky little devils you…) They’ve forever won a place in my heart (and more importantly, space on my to-die-for DVR), assuring obsessed, zombie-like viewership through sleet and sn… well, you know what I mean.

One such show is the juggernaut otherwise known as American Idol. Yes, I’m man enough to admit that I’m addicted to this program beyond belief. Almost to the point of attending regular A.I.A. meetings. Get it? Oh, never mind!

You know it’s bad too, when you know who Chicken Little, Mandiva and Princess P are and what Pick Pickler, Soul Patrol, Catching the McPheever and Getting Aboard the E Train means… Sad ain’t it?

I don’t know what it is either. It’s not like the idea is a new one. We’ve had shows like The Gong Show and Star Search and even Amateur Night at the Apollo in the past. Even copycat shows like Nashville Star (complete with it’s own Simon in Anastasia Brown) and the new version of Star Search just don’t have the same ‘oomph’ for some reason. There’s just something about this AI Train that makes me not want to get off.

As I write this, we’re down to our final 5 (Chris Daughtry, Elliott Yamin, Katharine McPhee, Paris Bennett and Taylor Hicks), and by the time this column comes out, we’ll be down to our final 4 or 3, with the show’s finale ending on May 24th. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself come June, but for now, let’s sit back and enjoy the ride while we have it.

Join me for a little stroll on A.I. Lane won’t you? Why don’t we take a look at how we can take our obsession to another level in the final few weeks of this season. And for all of you non-believers and non-conformists to the Ministry of A.I., the options below will make you come to the dark side whether you want to or not. If you’ve got other ideas, feel free to post them in the comments at the bottom of this column.

AI Superfans Donna, Lorraine, Gabby, Shelley, Maribel, and Jamie
AI Superfans Donna, Lorraine, Gabby, Shelley, Maribel, and Jamie

  • Have an office pool – Round up a bunch of your fellow co-workers and see who can choose the bottom three from week to week.
  • Spend “quality” time with your family – It’s a good excuse to invite your family over on Tuesday and/or Wednesday nights for dinner while watching the kids do their thang.
  • Hold an American Idol – All Star Challenge Party (you weirdo) – As quoted from the web site, “Challenge your friends and family as you journey through all three levels of competition, from Auditions to the Finals round.”
  • Play Fantasy Idol – Much like Fantasy Sports, you can “draft” your favorites and see how you fair against the rest of the online world.
  • Have an American Idol Video Game Party – Available for PlayStation 2, PC and Game Boy Advance.

And the list goes on and on… I was going to mention other activities like reading the message boards, shopping for Idol apparel, catching up on Idol gossip and news online, etc., but I didn’t want you to think I was some sort of fan or something. 😉

Now I would be remised at this time if I failed to mention them pioneers of yesteryear who started it all. You know, the Kelly Clarksons and Tamyra Grays of the A.I. world. But the real excitement for this show, especially for us in Hawaii, was when those chaps from our island home made it deep into the competition and made us proud. It was amazing to see how excited our entire State got and how we banded together to get behind our talented youngsters.

Lianne, Kassie and Nan with Jasmine Trias (Photo Courtesy: Lianne Killion)
Lianne, Kassie and Nan with Jasmine Trias (Photo Courtesy: Lianne Killion)

In case you just returned from your 5 year voyage on the moon, they were Jordan Segundo from Season 2, and Jasmine Trias, Camile Velasco, and Jonah Moananu from Season 3. It was surprising to me that after discovering 2 stars like Jasmine and Camile, who went far in Season 3’s competition (three if you count Diana DeGarmo), the show didn’t return to the islands to find more talent, but I guess that’s their prerogative. Hopefully, they’ll be back and we can show ’em what we got.

Though American Idol is constantly on my Elevated, yellow level for DVR recordings, the little annoyances and suspected conspiracy theory is starting to get to me. Annoyances like the constant bickering between host Ryan Seacrest and the judges, Simon Cowell’s shirt that is 2 sizes too small, Paula Abdul’s eccentric clapping style, the excessive commercialism, and the transformation of innocent teens into phony little Hollywood monsters. And am I the only one who suspects that there is a little bit of “tampering” in the results to make good TV? How can one contestant never be close to the bottom three one week and gone the next? Anyway, I digress…

Thanks to the beauty of the web, you can find almost anything on your favorite reality shows, including exclusive, web-only content. Below is a list of cool links for A.I. to check out. For more information on the Digital Video Recorder from Oceanic Time Warner Cable, go to

“Hi, My name is Ed. And I’m an American Idol-oholic.”

World Wide Ed, out!

Me and Shell with Camile Velasco
Me and Shell with Camile Velasco

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